Risk of travelling to the UK without your BRP card

With the in-country BRPs taking between 3-5 working days to be issued and overseas applicants having 10 days from arrival in the UK to collect their BRPs, many of you may decide to travel prior to obtaining your card due to prior work / travel commitments. This may also be the case if your card has been lost, stolen and you simply do not have the time to request a replacement card before travelling.

For those in this situation, you will be concerned as to whether or not you will be allowed to re-enter the UK and if so, will it be in your given immigration category rather than as a tourist.

This is, of course, very important, since if you are allowed back in the country as a tourist, your current visa might be curtailed and as a result the permission, to work/study for instance, attached to it, would automatically be cancelled.

According to the current Border Force Manual, passengers arriving without BRPs: will be required to provide their fingerprints…… Upon verification of the individual’s identity and status their passport can be endorsed with an open date stamp…If the passenger has had their BRP stolen or lost, they do not hold any evidence of the leave they have been granted or the conditions of their leave and under the UK Borders Act 2007 are required to obtain a replacement BRP, within three months of notification. Those individuals who do not apply for a replacement BRP may be subject to a civil penalty of up to the maximum of £1000 if they do not comply. ‘

Based on the UKVI’s instructions, as long as your ID and status can be verified you should be allowed back into the UK under your existing visa.

That is, of course, not guaranteed. Ultimately the decision lies with the Immigration Officer at the port who will bear in mind your circumstances when deciding whether or not to let you back into the UK and if so, under which category. In any case if it is found that you reported your card as lost or stolen over 3 months prior to re-entering the UK you will run the risk of being fined up to £1000.

If you are a visa national, however, you might not make it to the UK at all as carriers will be reluctant to let you board since they may be liable to a pay a penalty if they let you do so.

BRP holders are therefore recommended to keep their passports and BRP cards secured at all times. It would also be highly advisable to carry a copy of their documents when travelling abroad as well.


Information provided by Entry Clearance Services Ltd – OISC regulated
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